Hosted learnerships allow for collaborative skills development

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CULTIVATING TALENT Hosted learnerships enable a three-way collaboration approach to skills development, ensuring various businesses can play their part in cultivating talent

10th May 2024

By: Nadine Ramdass

Creamer Media Writer


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Hosted learnerships play a crucial role in addressing the skills gap in the mining sector, particularly in areas with high unemployment rates, by upskilling local talent, providing additional workforce and offering employment opportunities outside the sector, says training services provider Training Force MD Daniel Orelowitz.

While skills development is essential in various industries, businesses may not have the capacity, availability or ability to take on learners to meet their obligations. Conversely, other businesses may have available roles, but not necessarily sufficient funding to take on learners, he adds.

Hosted learnerships can address this challenge through their three-way collaboration approach, whereby one company provides funding, another offers learnership roles and a reputable training partner serves as a facilitator.

This arrangement creates mutual benefits, providing learners with real-world work experience and an income stream, while the host and funding provider earn broad-based black economic-empowerment (BBBEE) points to meet BBBEE requirements.

The arrangement also enables companies to develop skills tailored to the specific tasks they require, whether for contracting firms or directly for mining operations.

Hosted learnerships also help small, medium-sized and microenterprises, as well as nonprofit organisations and municipalities, by providing additional workforce, especially where these organisations have job openings, but not enough funding to pay employees.

Orelowitz enthuses that hosted learnerships can result in creating work opportunities, while also fostering collaboration.

After completing the programme, learners who have been managed by contractors can potentially be employed by them or by the mining house, benefiting from their community ties and acquired experience. This facilitates a symbiotic relationship between those in learnerships and the contractors, enhancing knowledge and skills development within the mining industry, he elaborates.

The Right Partner
Despite their positives, implementing hosted learnerships can also present mining companies with challenges, such as finding suitable host environments and placements for learners.

Orelowitz emphasises that if hosted by mining houses directly, or through hubs or similar entities, the host environment must effectively accommodate and manage a new influx of learners to provide the necessary practical experience that is vital for learnerships.

However, experienced training partners can mitigate these challenges by managing hosted learnership programmes effectively, using planning and coordination to ensure that learners are placed in appropriate environments for skills development.

Orelowitz adds that experienced training partners can assist in delivering the theoretical component of learnerships, as well as in managing administrative tasks such as onboarding, training, managing attendance and leave, and incentivising performance.

Training partners can also implement, monitor and close off the programme, as well as provide feedback for both parties, and ensure that learners receive the relevant National Qualification Framework certifications.

Alongside technical training, Orelowitz says that courses focusing on administration, management and information technology skills are gaining traction, owing to the modernisation demands of the mining industry. This includes proficiency in using various technologies and equipment such as computers, simulations and advanced machinery.

However, mining companies can also provide funding for programmes to develop the skills relevant to other sectors such as wholesale and retail cashier training.

In this regard, Orelowitz points out that the mining sector often invests in initiatives that demonstrate a commitment to education and skills development, particularly those focused on building local resources and empowering communities. These include training programmes in plumbing, tiling and other practical skills tailored to local needs.

This approach to training in the mining sector focuses on enhancing employability in the industry while providing individuals with skills that can be applied across various job opportunities beyond mining.

It also emphasises practical, hands-on training that directly benefits the local community, thereby contributing to their overall development.

“This is particularly valuable in the context of potential mine closures, as it provides communities with alternative avenues for employment, reducing the impact of closures on local livelihoods.”

Orelowitz also posits that hosted learnerships in the mining sector have already led to several success stories, particularly in terms of career advancement and skills enhancement for participants. Individuals can then leverage the skills acquired to either establish their own businesses or secure employment opportunities.

Hosted learnerships are a vital tool for businesses to contribute to sectoral growth, enhancing the economy, reducing unemployment and creating economic activity, which further contributes to growth, he concludes.

Edited by Donna Slater
Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer




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